Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a new role, there are 3 things you absolutely must do to get a job in product management. Getting a job in product management is hard enough as it is. Improve your chances at landing that dream job by doing the three things I’ve outlined below.
1. Use the force (of your network)
Most people looking for a product manager job are already using Linked In to grow their network. But that’s not enough. You need to let your network know that you’re actively looking for a job — and describe to them what your ideal job is. Of course, if you’re trying to keep your job search on the down-low so that your current employer doesn’t find out, you’ll want to tread carefully here with direct messages to key people rather than blasting everyone in your contacts.
Using your network to find a job is the most effective thing you can do. In an article on Forbes, research shows that 80% of the available jobs are not even posted in online sites such as CareerBuilder and LinkedIn. You read that right. Kind of unbelievable isn’t it?!? So many people I know that are looking for product manager jobs have been disappointed by applying to hundreds of jobs they found online. The best thing they can do is tap into their network and look for the hidden jobs.
What if you’re just starting out and don’t have an established network? Join one of the many product management online communities. I wrote about these communities in my blog post “50,000 Product Managers are waiting to connect with you!” And the title doesn’t lie. If you were to join the four product manager communities I describe in that article, you would have access to 50,000 product managers that are actively engaging in a vibrant community where you can find jobs, learn about best practices and so much more. If you’re not already a member of an online community like this, I highly recommend you do so today!
2. Write the perfect resume
Even in this age of online applications, you have to have a great resume. Did you know your resume only has 7.4 seconds to make an impression? That’s according to a recent study conducted by Ladders. That’s why I’m sharing my checklist for crafting the perfect product manager resume, which you can grab here.
Grab the checklist for crafting the perfect resume for product managers! #prodmgmtTweet
If you’re like most people, you might feel this way about having to work on your resume.
Many people have such a hard time writing about ourselves either because they fear sounding boastful or worry they don’t have enough relevant experience.
Download my checklist for crafting the perfect product manager resume and get the help you need to make the best first impression when applying for a job
And if my checklist isn’t enough, I can work with you directly to revamp your resume. You can learn more about this service here.
3. Interview prep (last step!)
Now onto the fun part. Just kidding! For most people, getting ready to interview for a job is one of the most stressful things you can do. Dreading job interviews ranks right up there with doing to the dentist or taking a final exam. The good news is there are things you can do to prepare for your job interview to ease those nerves and get you into the right mindset to show up calm and confident.
Read, read, and read some more! Before you experience that magical feeling of being contacted to interview for a job, read as many books about product management as possible. I’ve got a great list of books and other resources here that I highly recommend.
Also, check out my article “7 books to help you land your first product manager job”.
Listening to podcasts is one of my favorite ways to expand my mind because I can do it while doing other things that don’t require a lot of thought, like folding laundry or walking the dog.
Check out these product management podcasts I recommend for upping your PM game.
Follow product management thought leaders these people on LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, & Quora. These are just a few really good ones that I follow. Once you start following a few, you’ll quickly discover others.
- Marty Cagan
- Hunter Walk
- Julie Zhuo
- Ken Norton
- Janna Bastow
- Eric Ries
- Jeff Patton
- John Cutler
- Ben Horowitz
- Melissa Perri
- Teresa Torres
Once you have an interview lined up, practice like you’re studying for an exam. Be prepared for the easy and tough questions you’ll likely be asked. Be prepared to answer design questions. Be prepared to take about products you love and hate. Be prepared to show off your skills and capabilities. Be prepared by doing your research so that know the company and its products.
The last and possibly the most important thing you can do to prepare is by doing mock interviews with another person. You’ll often have to do an initial phone screen as part of the interview process and these can be a little intimidating because you don’t get to see the other person. If it’s challenging to find someone willing and able to help you practice for your interviews, I offer one-on-one, real-time mock interview sessions and would love to help.
My mission is to help people become great product managers who love their jobs and I hope you found this article useful. If you did, I’d appreciate if you could like this page by clicking the star button below and if you really like the advice here, share on social.